Beauty · books · Lifestyle

December Favourites & End of 2017 Wrap Up!

First things first…

🎉 Hello 2018! 🎉

I hope you’re all enjoying the start of the new year! I was actually supposed to finish and post this blog a lot earlier but festivities to celebrate the new year along with a friend’s birthday and the second round of that strange period where you’re not sure what day or time it is just completely took over. But now, it’s back to reality, back to life as it was, and i’m pretty much ready to get properly started with 2018!

However, before we get there I want to take a look back on some of my favourites from last month.

 

D E C E M B E R   F A V O U R I T E S !

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KIKO Nail polish – I bought these on sale early on in December. The first is a shimmery gold colour and the second is a dark cherry shimmery colour. KIKO has yet to disappoint me with their nail polish, these dry relatively quickly (around 2 minutes) and they last for around 4 days without chipping, unless you do a lot of things involving your hands. i.e. washing up etc.

KIKO Mascara – In my October favourites, I mentioned that I wanted to branch out with my mascara, turns out KIKO is as far as i’m willing to branch out because I found another keeper from this brand. Although it doesn’t provide a lot of volume, I like that it has a slight shimmer to it which was nice addition to the makeup I wore during the festive season. It barely smudges when it rains and in terms of portability, it’s lighter than the average sized mascara.

KIKO Lip Gloss Liner – The best thing about this Gloss Liner is that it’s not heavy or sticky. I use this mostly to give my lips a little more colour, which I do by blending it with my trusty Vaseline. It also gives a really nice ombre effect when I blend it with a darker lipstick. Only downside is that you have to re-apply it a couple of times as it fades when you eat or drink.

Nivea Soft Lotion Tube – I now carry this cream wherever I go, the cold weather makes my skin drier than normal and this has been such a big help for me. It’s not sticky, it moisturises very well, it doesn’t have a strong perfume smell and is relatively light to carry for a 70ml tube.

Ear Muffs – Another winter essential! My ear lobes hurt when they’re really cold, so these have been a big help for them. They’re warm and comfortable to wear but if you’re like me and like to listen to music with earphones, they’re not the greatest to wear with them underneath.

Maroon Jumper – I absolutely LOVE this jumper, it’s one of the warmest and comfiest that i’ve bought. I’ve also had a lot of comments from people complimenting on how soft it is. Only negative is that because of its style, it can sometimes, hook on to nails and pointy objects. Other than that, it’s pretty much the perfect winter jumper.

 

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E N D   O F  Y E A R  W R A P – U P !

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Top 5 Books:
Psycho – Robert Bloch
A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Lost Symbol
by Dan Brown
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins
Mystery In White by J.Jefferson Farjeon.
Favourite New To Me Author: Stephen King
Let Downs: The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien, Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf (DNF)

Top 5 Films: (I am incredibly behind on watching films this year) 
Logan
War for the Planet of the Apes
Get Out
Wonder Woman
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Favourite New To Me Film: District 9 (2009)
Let Downs: The Mummy, John Wick 2, The Justice League

Top 5 TV Shows:
Line of Duty
Stranger Things
Game of Thrones – the best scene i’ve seen on-screen all year, maybe ever.
This Is Us
Riverdale
Favourite New To Me Show: The Good Place
Let Downs: The Walking Dead (stopped watching), Sense 8 (stopped watching)

Top 5 Songs
Dua Lipa – New Rules
Kendrick Lamar – Humble
Giggs ft. Donaeo – Linguo
Matoma & MAGIC! – Girl At Coachella
Camilla Cabello – Havana
Favourite New To Me Song: Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah – Lake Shore Drive

 

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LASTLY…

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I also want to give a major shout-out to my favourite thing(s) of the year which were tea and coffee but especially to tea for getting me through a particularly stressful year. I thought my final year of university was difficult but this year has been an entirely new, very real adult-life type of difficult. Despite everything, I made it through and my journey toward trying to figure out my place in this crazy world continues – I hope 2018 brings me one step closer!

I’m really glad I started blogging and reading again this year because for while I had really fallen out of love with it all, so I wanted to also say thank-you to all of you who have read my posts, have liked and have so kindly commented and interacted with me over the past seven months – it’s really been fun sharing all my bookish thoughts and my favourite things with you all! I’ve also made a few reading goals for this year which are:

1)
To read books published within the last 3 years

2) To read more non-fiction books
3) To read genres I wouldn’t normally read

Here’s to 2018 and to me hopefully sticking to a few goals for the year!

On that note, I wish you all a happy, healthy and wonderful new year where ever you are! 🙂

graceY

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

xxx

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books · Life

Books I got for Christmas! 📚

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I’m really happy with these books I got for Christmas! I actually got a bunch of other books for my birthday which was earlier on during the month but I think i’ll save those for a book haul post. Before I talk a little about these books, I actually have a little confession to make (here goes):  around 80% of the books that i’ve read over the past few years, (particularly this past year) are books that were written around 40 – 100 years ago. I haven’t actually read a book that was published this year which – when I think about it, is pretty wild. So for the coming year, i’m going to make a big effort to read books that have been released either this year or in 2018. So watch out for that!

Now, on to my Christmas book presents! 🎁

Here are the books that I received…

The Power by Naomi Alderman – I actually hadn’t heard about this book until very recently – another reminder that I seriously need to step my contemporary reading game up. A friend of mine who has read this book and who kindly bought this book for me, really enjoyed it and I trust her judgement.

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla If you read my last post, I mentioned that I hoped to receive this book as a gift! — I have really wanted to read this book since I saw Riz Ahmed tweet about his chapter early on during the year. I kept adding it to my (online shopping) basket but it unfortunately remained there for months on end. Out of the three, this is the book i’m most looking forward to reading.

The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst – This is a book that I would have probably never bought myself which is why i’m looking forward to reading it. I haven’t looked into what the story is about but i’ve heard some good things about the author which is reassuring.

 

If you celebrated, What books did you get for Christmas?

Did you get anything interesting or unique this year? I want to know!
I’m always looking to add a couple of books on to my ever-growing (but wonderful) ‘To Be Read’ list!

book tag · books · Tag

❄☃️🎄 Christmas Book Tag! 🎄☃️❄

 

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It’s Christmas time and I feel like I’ve had absolutely no time to get into the Christmas spirit this year. My blogging, reading and reviewing game has really been off these past two months – i’ve been so busy with life and trying to get enough sleep that I think this might be (other than helping my siblings put up the Christmas tree at home), the most Christmas-y thing I’ve done – let’s not even talk about all the Christmas shopping I literally just finished doing a couple of hours and have yet to wrap! Anyway enough of me blabbing and on to this wonderful Christmas tag that was created by A Stranger’s Guide to Novels . Thank you Astra for creating this tag which I so greatly needed to get into the Christmas spirit!

🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the curator.
2. Tag 5 people to spread the Christmas joy.
3. Have fun! :p

 

1. Name a book you would like to see under your Christmas tree.
Probably The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla.

 

2. A book you’ll be reading during the Christmas season.
I’ve almost finished reading The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis and i’m also a quarter of the way through A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

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I’m also reading The Shining by Stephen King which is a horror but it has snow in it, so it’s basically Christmas-y. 😉


3. Favourite Christmas movie?
This was so hard to choose, I literally did ip-dip-do to decide. The movie I chose is The Santa Clause (1994). I feel like this film is slightly underrated. I love Tim Allen’s performance and the make-up/prosthetics and special effects still amaze me today.

 

4. Do you like snow?
I like it when it’s falling and when i’m comfy and warm inside, I also like it for a minute or 3 when I step outside but then I hate it because then it turns into slush and then it freezes over, which increases the chances of my face and/or body hitting the ground. It actually snowed and it set for the first time in a couple of years in London and it was lovely to watch until I had to leave my house and go to work.

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5. Name a character you would like to spend your Christmas day with.
Probably Fred and George, it’d be super fun and they’d probably give me something cool and wacky from their Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. Or maybe Robert Langdon because he’d probably be able to tell me some mind-blowing facts or conspiracies about Christmas.

 

6. To give or receive?
I’m not the best gift-giver – I never really know what to buy someone unless they give me a list of up to 5 things. I prefer receiving mainly because i’m always surprised by much my friends and family pay attention to the things that I mention in passing or just simple know that I like.

 

7. What fictional place would you like to spend Christmas at?
Narnia, definitely Narnia – probably for an hour two when there’s snow everywhere and then the rest of the time when everything’s all melted – just to be clear, the white witch is obviously dead btw 😉

 

8. Fondest Christmas memory?
Probably the Christmas of 2015. It was our last Christmas in the house that my family and I had lived in for 13 years. I was also on my year abroad and I actually missed my family and couldn’t wait to be reunited with them, I think they missed me too because I got some really cool gifts and we of course ate soooo much food and it was also nice seeing my friends that I hadn’t seen in a while.

 

9. Can you say “Christmas tree” ten times FAST in a row (pronouncing it correctly)?
Surprisingly, yes, I stutter, so i’m really surprised. It did however take an immense amount of concentration. Christmas miracle?

 

I tag: Everyone who is in need of some Christmas spirit!

 

M E R R C H R I S T M A E V E R Y O N E ! ! ! 🎄

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gracie

book tag · books

Top Ten Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit!

Top Ten Tuesday

Hey guys! I hope you’ve all had a great start to December! I feel like it’s been such a long while since I last blogged. This past month has been incredibly busy for me and for some reason the drop in temperature in England has turned me into a hermit, I literally come home, eat and then go to sleep, I might watch an episode of something if i’m lucky. So yeah my blogging has been a bit stagnant but fortunately I am back with this weeks Top Ten Tuesday, which is a weekly feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week features a different prompt where you come up with a list of ten books or ideas. This week’s Top Ten is Top Ten Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit (and have dreamed about since I was a child) 🙂

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1) The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis – Narnia I really love the wintery setting of Narnia at the start of the book – I know the winter is because of the White Witch and is a symbol of bleakness and things being dead, but I think that it looks beautiful.

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2) The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown – Capitol Rotunda I am just as fascinated as Robert Langdon is about this place – I like to learn and I feel like this is one of those places where i’d end up unknowingly staying until its closing time.

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3) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Gatsby’s Mansion I would love to walk around a mansion like Gatsby’s, I have never read about a ‘house’ so lavish but so carefully designed but that is also incredibly beautiful – you’ll probably find me in his library fawning over a rare book of some kind.

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4) Nana by Emile Zola – Paris I love and miss Paris; and I definitely plan on going back again in the near future. Zola highlights both the Paris you see and hear about and the Paris, that some don’t want you see, he really makes the city feel like a real mundane and visceral place.

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5) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – The moors (Wuthering Heights) Despite living in England, I really don’t enjoy cold or wet weather but there’s something about being out in almost undisturbed nature that I really like. Also just being able to breathe in all that wonderful fresh air.

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6) Harry Potter by J.K Rowling – The Great Hall Oh boy, the feasts the amazing feasts! I would never miss a meal if I went to Hogwarts and i’d probably end up planning my entire day around the seasonal feasts. I (unlike Harry) and like Ron would never miss out on all that food if I could help it!

 

That’s it for this list unfortunately, I honestly couldn’t think of other settings that I would genuinely want to visit… probably due to the fact that I don’t read enough ‘happy’  or books with pleasant locations very often.

I hope you enjoyed this list nonetheless, until next time!

graceY

 

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book tag · Tag

Top Ten Books I Want My Future Children to Read!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week features a different prompt where you come up with a list of ten books or ideas. This week’s Top Ten is Top Ten Books I Want My Future Children to Read (Or nieces and nephews, Godchildren, etc.) 

I absolutely love this week’s theme because it really took me back to the some of the moments  of when I read these books as a child. With that in mind, I decided to make this list based on our formative years, so ages 2 – 11! I have fond memories of reading these books either on my own in the corner of a classroom, at home with my Dad, during group reads and at the library, many were chosen for me to read and others, thanks to wonderful illustrations and fun-sounding blurbs, I chose to read. I can’t wait to give or read these books to my future kids (if I have any) or to my nieces or nephews, Godchildren… I’m so going to be the cool aunt! 😉 So, without further ado here is my list.

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1969)

2. The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr (1968)
(I used to LOVE this book as a kid)

3. Not Now Bernard by David McKee (1980)

4. Amazing Grace series by Mary Hoffman (1991)
(This was the first children’s book I read with someone who looked like me… and we have the same name 😉

5. The Borrowers by Mary Norton (1952)

6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)

7. Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling (1997)
(I would only want them to read books 1-4 as kids, I was 10 when I first read book 5 and I just didn’t fully get it).

8. Matilda by Roald Dahl (1988)
(Probably my favourite Dahl book)

9. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian (1981)

10. The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson (1992)
(This made me understand grown-up things like divorce a lot more)

 

I wonder if these books are still given to kids today to read? I know for sure that both Harry Potter and The Very Hungry Caterpillar still are but i’d be interesting to find out if they still are or aren’t.

Did any of you read these books as children, would you want your future kids/ nieces nephews/ Godchildren to read these books? If you have any, have you? I want to know! 🙂

 

graceY

 

Book Reviews · Lifestyle

October Wrap-Up! Hauls, Reviews, What I’ve Been Watching… Life?

October is officially over! 🎃 🍂 (Hello November!) The weather’s increasingly getting colder over here in England, the clocks went back last weekend (yay to extra sleep!) and Halloween was a pretty good night! – I hope you enjoyed this past month as much as I did too!

But now, on to my first monthly wrap-up!

BOOK HAUL!

I buy most of my books from charity shops or online, both new and second-hand, I don’t discriminate… unless the spine is falling off or there are questionable stains in or on the book.

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Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I’ve wanted to read this book since I saw it in cinemas a few years ago. I usually read/want to read books before I watch a film or television adaptations, but this story seemed like one that I would enjoy even more in its written form.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
This book is a good example of why the back-cover of books with only ☆☆☆☆ reviews should be banned. I wouldn’t have bought it if I hadn’t been intrigued by its blurb!

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, i’m not the biggest Austen fan. I’ve only read two of her novels, one which I didn’t initially enjoy and the other which I (to my surprise) ended up liking. I hope I like this one!

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
I wanted to read a scary story and considering that it’s the month of Halloween, I thought this book would be perfect to read. The idea of Ghosts also scare me, so there’s that too.

 

MINI BOOK REVIEWS:

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This month I read a grand total of 2 books:

1. Psycho by Robert Bloch

SYNOPSIS:
Psycho follows the story of  Norman Bates who runs a motel on a deserted highway with his mother, however there is something strange about their relationship. Norman’s world begins to unravel when a woman escaping more than just the dreary storm outside, checks in for the night. We soon begin to learn about what really goes on at Bates Motel.

REVIEW:
I really enjoyed this book! I watched the film adaptation years ago, so I pretty much knew how the story went. However even though I liked the film, the book provides more of a psychological look at the characters – particularly in the ways past events can or continue to affect your future/adult self. You really get a sense of why the characters are the way they are. Bloch set’s the tone perfectly from the start, its short length means the story is never dull or full of unnecessary exposition. Moreover, the set up to the big reveal is so well written that it makes me wish that I hadn’t already seen the film! As for the horror? It wasn’t as gruesome in detail but I think that’s what Bloch intended in the sense that he is able to expertly convey and contrast both the thought process of the antagonist as well as his outwardly behaviour which in effect makes this story all the more horrifying. This is definitely my favourite book of the year so far!

“Despite my ghoulish reputation, I really have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk”.

4.8 / 5

2. The Turn of The Screw by Henry James

SYNOPSIS:
The new governess is in charge of two remarkably well-behaved orphans, however she becomes increasingly uneasy after she learns that the man she sees wandering through the grounds is in fact dead like her predecessor. The governess, determined to keep her pupils safe from their evil forces, begins to tether the line between what is real and what she may be imagining.

REVIEW:
This book is wild. It’s hard for me to put into words exactly how I feel about it. I was drawn in almost immediately by the opening chapters. The setting, the characters and the tone were all perfect in creating the typical gothic story. However, for some reason, despite the book being only 120 pages long, I found it quite a challenge to get through. James’ writing style is convoluted, a lot of it I think has to do with how he wants to present the psyche of the governess which makes sense especially regarding the ambiguous ending. Unfortunately, this really hindered my enjoyment of the book; I still found the story to be intriguing and creepy but the ending felt a little lack-lustre.
· I think this book really inspired the whole angelic seeming child who ends up being truly sinister movie trope.


It has been easy to live with them, because they’re simply leading a life of their own. They’re not mine—they’re not ours. They’re his and they’re hers!”

3 / 5

 

NOVEMBER TBR

I never plan what I read, I just go with the flow and pick something on my TBR list. As of yesterday I started reading Between The Acts by Virginia Woolf – so far so good!


WHAT DID I WATCH?

 

 

Crimson Peak  – This film was more gothic than horror (which I liked because I love the gothic genre). Overall, I enjoyed the performances, the cinematography was beautiful and the score was really good but the story unfortunately wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be. The ghosts were creepy AsF though!                                                

 Stranger ThingsI have well and truly been on this hype train since I accidentally started watching it on Netflix last summer (thanks automatic countdown). Season 2 was just as good, if not better! The character development, the acting, the special effects and most of the new additions to the show were just great! The actor who plays Will Byers was phenomenal, as was Bob the Brain and also Team Steve anyone? !:) Bring on Season 3!

I of course also watched Hocus Pocus – it’s my own personal Halloween tradition and I loved it as always!

 

LIFE.

Nothing interesting or significant has been going on in my life lately. I went to a wedding two weekends ago which was nice and I got some good countryside fresh air. On a more serious note, I’ve been thinking about changing career paths, since graduating work-life has pretty much been almost the opposite of what I expected it to be and recently I think maybe I need a change. Also, my birthday is coming up soon and i’m turning a quarter of a century – the big 25! I don’t usually celebrate my birthday but as it’s a ‘significant number’ I thought i’d make an effort this year.

 

Until next time : ) 🕸

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GraceSign

 

MINI BOOK REVIEWS:Their more than earthly beauty, their absolutely unnatural goodness. It’s a game,” I went on; “it’s a policy and a fraud!”
Beauty · Lifestyle

2017 – October Favourites!

Before I begin…

🎃 H A P P Y   H A L L O W E E N !!!  🎃

 

It’s been a while… It’s been a long while since I did a monthly favourites. I’m a creature of habit, if I like something then i’ll continue using and buying it until I eventually feel like trying something new. Fortunately, this month i’m back, with a few interesting things that I’ve loved using this month. So without further ado here are my October Favourites!

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1. Notebook

I’ve gotten so used to writing in a line-less (is that a word?) papered notebook, so writing in this took a little getting used to. When I buy a notebook I always, always check for the paper quality – I absolutely hate it when I write in a notebook and the writing appears clear as day on the following page, this then leads to me skipping that page and that’s wasting paper which i’m not an advocate for. Fortunately, I don’t have that problem with this notebook! Another good thing about this notebook is that in the top right hand corner there’s an area which encourages you to write the date which I often forget to do when I take notes and want to remember when I wrote them. In terms of size, it’s light and fits comfortably inside any bag; it’s also from WHSmiths.

 

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2. Garner Ultimate Blends Conditioner

On a trip to the drug store while strolling through the hair aisle I decided to look at a couple of different brands to maybe try out. By now, you might be thinking… Is Grace really going to buy a different brand of conditioner to her shampoo? The answer is yes. And for two reasons: the first I use up my conditioner twice as fast as I use my shampoo – i’m all about that deep conditioning life and second using a different brand of shampoo and conditioner (at least on my hair) doesn’t really make a difference. My hair is clean and smells good either way. How was the conditioner? I really liked it, I keep it in my hair for around 20 minutes after shampooing and then finally after blow-drying it, my hair is soft, easy to brush through, its honey scent also lasts in my hair for several days. Highly recommend!

 

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3. Waterloo, Belgium

I have a really, really big family and I pretty much end up attending a wedding or 3 ever year. A few weekends a go I went to Belgium to celebrate my cousin’s wedding which was incredibly lovely, though a little cold because the venue was outside, I had a really good time catching-up with family members that I hadn’t seen in a while. The only part that I didn’t enjoy was the location of the wedding which was in a small town called Waterloo. There wasn’t much to see or do but what really stuck out to me was how extremely over-priced the cabs were! – as in a 5 minute journey ended up costing 15 euros, it also depended on what time of day you travelled. The entire thing was ludicrous but we had no choice because we were staying in the country side part of the town and walking in heels was not an option! Of course the thing I enjoyed the most was the food – the waffles to be exact which were just delicious! If you are going to buy waffles, i’d suggest buying them from the stands because they’re lovely and warm and you have a choice of toppings! Overall the wedding was fun but it will be my first and last visit to the town of Waterloo!


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4. KIKO Waterproof Mascara

Like I mentioned before, i’m a creature of habit and unlike my hair products, i’m almost unwilling to try new makeup almost. I’d run out of mascara and I was in dire need for a replacement, however instead of going to my local Superdrug, I decided to pop into KIKO – initially to pick out a couple of nail polishes when I my eyes fell upon this tube of mascara. So do I like it?… For the most-part, Yes. It stays on very well – rain or shine, it even stays on through the tears which makes it tough to take off with just makeup wipes face wash woks better! The downside? I wish the brush were just a little more firmer, also I would not recommend falling asleep (like I stupidly did) without having washed it off!! When you wake up your eyelashes will feel like they’ve been glued together, a couple of blinks will get them apart. Overall the best part about this mascara has to be that it’s waterproof best to be worn when it’s raining outside.


That’s it for this month, hopefully i’ll have some favourites to write about next month!
🎃